Oh, young father!

The beer hasn’t caught up
with your gut just yet
and your best smoking years
are right ahead of you.

Your wife still bears
the luggage of your daughter’s
arrival along her midriff
and her floppy hat waves goodbye
to the life you both knew.

My three meet the waves
head on, arms outstretched
borne back ceaselessly
renewed, revived, resurrected.

She recalls the old days
when she was only three
and not yet in the third grade.

He strolls along the sand
with the sixth grade swagger of a salty dog,
his eyes behind the shades already offshore.

Their mother smiles sunshine
while terrified of the riptide
that will steal them away.

The rigs perched along the horizon
pretend not to notice
that its viscous blood
skimmed this surface
fouled these deep waters
and soiled these shores.

I pretend too
that the water’s safe,
that enough time has passed.

The bare-chested grandpa
white-haired, red and wrinkled
tosses the ball to his fat feist
while he walks alone.

Oh, young father!
the sun is still high.

Crack a beer for me
and light that smoke.

Oh, young father!
The day is yours.